Various Artists – “Punk Goes Acoustic Volume 3 (Fearless Records)

As the vaunted Punk Goes… series turns old enough to legally buy a beer in Canada (yes, folks, it’s 19 this year, feel old yet?), it bucked tradition and got us a gift instead in the form of Punk Goes Acoustic Volume 3, a record 12 years in the making (Vol. 2 was released in 2007).

After a bombastic start (well, as bombastic as an acoustic song can be) with Dance Gavin Dance’s “Story of My Bros,” plucked from their 2018 release Artificial Selection, Punk Goes Acoustic Volume 3 bombs down memory line with a run of tracks dripping in tear-jerking nostalgia, beginning with Circa Survive’s folksy, dusty road version of their classic “Act Appalled,” the lead single off 2005’s debut album Juturna, aka the track that made us all fall in love with those dudes back in the day. Taking Back Sunday’s “A Decade Under the Influence” continues the run of wistfulness with memorable lines and timeless hooks, before Dashboard Confessional (DC on an acoustic record seems redundant, just saying) will send you reaching for the nearest box of Kleenex with the iconic “Screaming Infidelities.” The second song off 2001’s The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most immediately transports me personally back to a different time – hanging with good friends, listening to music, journaling and writing poetry at a local diner without a care or responsibility in the world. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Mayday Parade continues the incredible run with a brilliant version of their A Lesson in Romantics standout “Take This To Heart.”

Movements deliver an album highlight with “Colorblind” midway through Punk Goes Acoustic Volume 3, which keeps firing off bullets until the very end. The record doesn’t slow (acoustic record…slow…fun with puns!) during its latter half. Set If Off makes sure of that with a killer take on their 2014 tune “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing,” as does the duo of As It Is (“Okay”) and Grayscale (“Atlantic”), whose back-to-back delicate strummers truly steal the show. And serving as a cherry on top of the sundae that is Punk Goes Acoustic Volume 3, The Almost’s “Hand Grenade,” already an acoustic track, is reimagined into a smoky, lounge tome.  

Punk Goes Acoustic Volume 3 is a perfect blend of old school mixtape favorites and their contemporaries, providing a heaping helping of nostalgia to go along with unique takes on some modern tracks. It’s pretty fucking great, to put it plainly.         

Go Download: “A Decade Under the Influence” – Taking Back Sunday